[3.8] Brittleknee’s Scourge Arrow Poison Assassin - All Content! Video Guide Soon!

[3.8] Brittleknee’s Scourge Arrow Poison Assassin

Greetings, Exiles! I’m Brittleknee!

When they announced the updated Assassin ascendancy, I knew I really wanted to work with it and see what I could come up with. The Elusive buff seemed very interesting, and the changes to poison in addition to the Perfect Agony rework seemed like it was definitely worth exploring. I started playing PoE in 3.0 Harbinger, after poisons were knocked down into obscurity and it seemed like the right time to finally dust off and explore it.

All in all, the build feels really good. It has very respectable damage which can be min-maxed beyond where I’ve taken it despite poison being a ‘ramp up’ damage over time mechanic. The combination of Perfect Agony and Coralito’s, a Crit/Crit Muli and Poison focused tree, and a boasting of various secondary defenses make it a well-rounded character. With flexible gem links, you can also customize this character to your personal preferences as well.

Check out the Media section below for kill videos/clips!

Catch me Streaming on Twitch or in game as @Brittleknee!

Blight Update

Hooray, I’m publishing my first build of Blight League!

While starting on a new character that was using poisons in a poison meta made the initial gearing of this character a bit tough, I believe that this is well enough to go ahead and put forward for consideration. I just wrapped up completing most of the available bosses (still looking for Aul) and have included videos of those kills in the media section below.

I’ll continue to min-max the build a little bit more through the rest of the league, such as getting the helmet with the enchant on it and crafting it up, working on my overall gear and trying my hand at crafting a fossil-crafted bow, so there may be another small update to the build before the end of the league.

For anoints, you’ll either want Dirty Techniques or Adder’s Touch.
Adder’s Touch is more approachable and offers great DPS. However, Dirty Techniques is just a little bit more damage (AT: 472k per poison and DT: 477k per poison in my current gear). For most, Adder’s Touch should be more than sufficient, but for those who truly wish to min-max, the most DPS comes from Dirty Techniques. You just have to decide if the Silver Oil is worth the mild increase in DPS.

Have a great league!

Path of Building Links:

Moderate Investment:

Moderate Meaning Crafted Bow, Nice Rares, 6L for both Main Skill and Frenzy Utility.

Considerable Investment:

All of the above but with Watcher’s Eye, +1 Quiver, Helm Enchant, Fully Leveled.

1.0. Introduction

This section will provide you a build overview to help see if this may be a good fit for you!

1.1. Pros & Cons

This build can do all content! Though untested in deep delves, it easily survives in i83 zones in 220-240 where I have been looking for Aul.
  • Bosser - Has cleared all Boss content including Red Elder, Shaper, Uber Atziri, Uber Elder, All Delve Bosses, Mastermind and the briefly-lived Synth bosses.

  • Moderate Mapper - This is a fire once and move along type of build. You’ll find a rhythm where you can move along pretty quickly while your poisons quickly finish things off behind you.

  • Forgiving - Stacking dodge and evasion results in a very forgiving build. This is enhanced further with the Elusive buff and Mistwalker ascendancy. We’re throwing Mind over Matter on top of all of this and you’ve got some pretty damn good defenses.

  • League Starter - You can start on this build, because it only needs three uniques to get the ball rolling, and slapping an Essence of Delirium on a 6L bow of some kind will get you through red maps, which is a pretty decent setup. You’ll level mostly as Toxic Rain, which is also fun and comfy leveling, once you hit maps, it's up to you when to transition to Crit/Muli/Perfect Agony..

There are, however, a few drawbacks to the build which include the following:

  • Occasionally Squishy - If anything mitigates your secondary defenses (Elusive, Dodge, Evasion), you are going to be squishy considering you only have about 6-6.5k eHP with MoM. While mapping this isn’t the biggest deal, since MoM and high mana recovery + life leech will cover most of the normal hits, Legion mobs and such can stack up just right to wipe you out. This rarely happens, but can happen more frequently on maps with: “Dodge Change is Unlucky” for obvious reasons. Please read the FAQ below to understand more about how all these defenses work together.

  • Damage Ramp Up - Poisons builds boast impressive DPS numbers, but often need just a little time to get started. This build is no different, as it does need a little to get started on bosses, but with just a few poison stacks, you will quickly delete health bars.

1.2. Playstyle

The Shadow’s position on the passive tree doesn’t do the poor lad any favors when it comes to having approachable amount of Max HP. The amount of travel nodes needed to reach the Scion life wheel means you have to give up a lot of goodies just to get there.

As such, I’ve made up for a relatively low HP pool by stacking this character up with as many secondary defenses as I can. Acrobatic, Phase Acrobatics, Mind over Matter, with high evasion and dodge, blind and phasing. On top of this, we have Elusive, which is quite nice.

That all being said, this plays like most bow builds. You’ll want to actively move to avoid damage and kite difficult enemies as you can. All of the defenses are there to help you survive things you couldn’t avoid, but should not be used in lieu of actively dodging and avoiding damage. If you plant your feet on a bow build, you will die.

1.3. Origins

I had every intention of starting on a necromancer in 3.8, but I was pulled away by the announced changes to Assassin. The updated Perfect Agony node seemed really interesting as well, as it is a very different way to scale damage. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to marry two of my favorite Trickster builds, and apply it to the new Assassin ascendancy. The Elusive buff also seemed very neat, and worth seeing how defensive it really was.

All in all, I’m pleased with how this turned out. I think there is a good balance between offense and defense, and even though a lot of the end-game DPS upgrades do not reflect as a number in PoB (+1 Arrow on Quiver, +1 Pod Enchant) make no mistake this thing well-geared is a beast.

At the end of the day, you do need to remember that this is still damage over time, even if it is really good damage, and some people prefer big, chunky crit damage, so make sure you’re being honest to yourself before trying the build what you prefer!

2.0. Skill Trees, Ascendancy, and Leveling

Ready to get started? Then let’s go over everything you’ll need to start your Character!

2.1. Ascendancy Choices

Assassin Ascendancy
  • Noxious Strike
  • Toxic Delivery
  • Mistwalker
  • Opportunistic
  • (Ambush is also fine if you prefer)

2.2. Leveling Toolkit

Leveling this character should be relatively straightforward. We’ll be leveling as Toxic Rain until its time to use the respec points provided by the storyline to move into Crit and Crit Multi for Perfect Agony. You may want to hold off on the respec until you can afford the uniques you’ll need, but that’s up to you!

Leveling Trees

When you're ready to go Crit/Multi/Perfect Agony:

Skill Gem Links

This section will help with what gems you need to pick up on the way, and what your links will be.

Main Attack Links

Start with Caustic Arrow until you can use Toxic Rain at Lv. 12. Pick up Scourge Arrow in A3 and level it in your offset weapons.

Use Lesser Poison Support until you get Vile Toxins (and have the first lab complete!)

Added Chaos Damage and Vicious Projectiles come from Siosa or Lily.

(Sub/Use Vicious Proj, Infused Channeling, and Unbound Ailments as you please.)

TR - 3-Link
  • TR - Lesser Poison - Mirage Archer

TR - 4-Link
  • TR - Lesser Poison - Mirage Archer - Deadly Ailments

TR - 5-Link
  • TR - Lesser Poison - Mirage Archer - Deadly Ailments - Vile Toxins

TR/SA - 6-Link
  • TR - Lesser Poison - Mirage Archer - Deadly Ailments - Vile Toxins - Added Chaos

**If you are going to buy 20/20 gems at level 70, then go ahead and level with whatever supports you want! Void Manipulation, Swift Affliction, etc!**

Other Gear Links

Until you are Ready to go Mind over Matter and have both the Cloak of Defiance and Essence Worm, you can have Herald of Agony to keep you company. At the very least link it with Pierce, but any additional support gems are up to you and your mana situation.


Clarity, Precision - Leave these lv 1.

Despair, Self-Cast until you can purchase Curse on Hit, then do
Frenzy - Curse on Hit - Despair, Add GMP (from Quest Reward)

Spell Totem - Wither - Faster Casting - Multiple Totem Support

Cast When Damage Taken - Steelskin (level as high as you can)

Withering Step - Flame Dash - Vaal Blight - Increased Duration (You can use Blink Arrow or Dash instead if you like them better than Flame Dash, but do not replace Withering Step)

2.3. Pantheons

  • Brine King - For Stun Immunity

  • Honestly, whomever you prefer

2.4. Bandits

Help Alira for Resist, Mana and Multi.

Check me out on Twitch! http://www.twitch.tv/brittleknee
Last edited by brittleknee on Oct 7, 2019, 8:44:42 PM
Last bumped on Oct 18, 2019, 5:02:48 AM

3.0. Early Gearing & Getting Started

Hooray, you made it to maps! Now it’s time to get started!

3.1. Required Uniques

Cloak of Defiance
Since we go no where near the Witch side of the passive tree, our character gains Mind over Matter via the Cloak of Defiance. The MoM granted by the cloak is exactly as the Keystone, but there is an additive property to it, granting an additional 10% of damage to be taken from Mana before Life, for a total of 40% of damage taken from Mana.

This is a powerful defensive ability, allow us to use our mana pool as extra life since we can’t make it to the Scion Life Wheel.

Essence Worm
This ring makes it so Malevolence costs no mana reservation, and it gives any aura socketed into it two additional levels.

We scale our damage with the Malevolence aura and Despair curse. Due to Malevolence being in the Ring and Despair being part of the Frenzy setup, we can leave a vast majority of our mana unreserved, save for running low level Clarity and Precision.

Scourge Arrow has build in pierce into the skill gem itself, allowing us to make use of the Drillneck to help us scale our poison. While some rare quivers could be better long term, I think Drillneck is a great choice for the build and is pretty accessible.

Coralito’s Signature

Lioneye’s Fall
Any passives in the jewel’s effect whose description includes the word melee or names any of the melee weapon types (claw, dagger, sword, etc) function as bow nodes instead. Specifically in this build we use it to convert the claw nodes in the shadow area to provide a good source of crit, multi, life leech, mana leech and blind. Then we convert the dagger nodes below Acro/Phase acro for powerful scaling of ailments and some passive phasing chance.

3.2. End-Game Gem Setup

Scourge Arrow, Mirage Archer, Vile Toxins, Deadly Ailments, Added Chaos, Unbound Ailments (or Infused Channeling as a slightly defensive option).

Cast When Damage Taken,

Body Armor:
Frenzy, Greater Multiple Projectiles, Curse on Hit, Despair, Onslaught, Pierce

Withering Step, Vaal Blight, Increased Duration
Fourth is Movement Skill of Choice - Flame Dash/Dash/Blink Arrow

Spell Totem, Wither, Faster Casting, Multiple Totem Support


3.3. Flasks

Can use a Quicksilver instead of Quartz. This was my bossing setup.

3.4. Jewels

You’ll want Lioneye’s and a Watcher’s Eye.

Useful Watcher’s Eye Stats are (in no particular order):
  • Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage (10-15)% faster while affected by Malevolence
  • +(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
  • Gain a Flask Charge when you deal a Critical Strike while affected by Precision
  • +(30-50)% to Critical Strike Multiplier while affected by Precision
  • (20-30)% increased Mana Recovery Rate while affected by Clarity

3.5. Crafting

You’ll have to craft a bow and a helmet in this build (or buy something pre-done)!
Do not craft the helmet until you’ve bought an Evasion base with the +Pod Enchant on it. Get a temple Rare Helm with Mana % Until you’ve saved the money to buy the base and craft it. An Elder Evasion Base with +Pod is BiS.

Elder Thicket Bow
Item Level Needed: 80
Crafting Currency Used: Transmutes, Alterations, Regals, Annulment Orbs
Example: I got lucky with the Culling Strike Mod, you would just pick Chaos Multi, Crit or Accuracy and Quality and Attack Speed. See the PoB for an example.

Evasion Base Helm
Item Level Needed: 84
Crafting Currency Used: 2-Socket Resonators, Pristine Fossils, Aberrant Fossils

5.0. End Game

5.1. Final Build Gear

I could have definitely had and/or crafted better rares. By the time I was looking for serious end game gear, the market had sharply declined. I will likely have to put on my big girl pants and try crafting some of the upgrades that will be ideal.

5.2. Improving Further

An Elder Evasion base with the same Life and -9% Chaos Resist plus Elder’s Max Mana % would be super, but the prices of Evasion SA +Pod bases are fairly absurd right now. Maybe towards the end of the league.

The absolute perfect bow would be Lv. 20 Vicious Projectile (Elder Mod) and 60% Chance for Poisons to do 100% More Damage (Corroded Fossil Mod). To roll this, you will need need at least a Corroded and Aberrant Fossil in the Resonator. Anything extra is up to you. You will also need to have a tremendous amount of patience. Hitting both on a bow will be extremely hard, but is the very best you could have.

Likewise rolling Corroded and Aberrant and Pristine fossils on a Stygian Vise can land you a very nice belt with Chaos Damage, Ailment Damage and Life.

Just remember in all your craftting, you will need the temple rares with the Mana% +T1 Mana for your boots and gloves. The extra mana % is needed and non-optional!


Infused Channeling vs. Unbound Ailments
Unbound is more damage, but Infused had some offensive and defensive properties as far as mitigating incoming chaos damage. What that means to you is up to you. Pick whichever you’d like.

Spell Totem vs. Ranged Attack Totem
However you’re wanting to apply Wither is honestly fine, so you can go with either a Spell Totem with Wither or Ranged Attack Totem with Withering Touch. The attack the RAT uses will need to be able to apply Withering Touch very quickly.

HoGM/Uber Atziri
No gear swaps needed.

Check me out on Twitch! http://www.twitch.tv/brittleknee
Last edited by brittleknee on Oct 7, 2019, 8:17:41 PM

6.0. Frequently Asked Questions

Uh oh! Iif you’re running into issues, make sure to check here first!

6.1. Frequently Asked Questions

Will compile more questions once there are a few pages of replies or questions on stream.

Darkscorn vs. Elder Thicket
At the beginning of a league, Darkscorn will be ridiculously priced due to its overall rarity, being a Legion-Specific item and Legion being maps-only. And Elder Thicket base will be far more common and approachable early on. However, towards the end of the league, Darkscorn will drop in price and you can honestly use whichever one you prefer, just make sure you accomodate for the Chaos Res needed otherwise you will take massive amounts of damage if you are -60% chaos res like most SC folks are.

6.2. Troubleshooting Common Issues

Mana Management

How do you know if you have enough mana?

Multiply your HP by 0.6667 to determine how much Mana you need. That value is calculated from the ratio of Mana to HP - 40/60. We use the 40/60 Calculation instead of the 30/70 one because Cloak of Defiance provides and additional 10%.

However, the amount of unreserved Mana can me under the recommended calculation if you have exceptional sources of recovery, such as Leech and Regen and sources of Mana gained on Kill. This means you can refill your mana globe quickly, thus giving you some

While you will be occasionally one-shot, if you find it happens semi-frequently then you need to make sure you’ve got enough mana. Either get more on the passive tree, on gear, or de-level your Clarity or Precision.


Elusive is a buff that is granted on Critical Strike, and starts and full strength and rapidly losing strength until it is depleted. This means on your first strike against monsters, you will be the most defensive.

Withering Step is a skill gem that can refresh Elusive no matter its value. This becomes not only a movement skill, but when used appropriately, functions like a small defensive cooldown. The fact that it applies wither as well makes it nice to get a little more damage, while not having to bust out the ‘ol wither totems all the time. Finding the rhythm to use it can take a little practice, but its definitely worth doing.

Very similar to my Trickster build, this character very much relies on secondary defenses in order to survive. Each defense adds a layer of protection to prevent incoming damage collectively. Your mitigation is broken down into four core parts.

Mind Over Matter:
  • Provides protection by functioning as HP by diverting a portion of incoming damage to your mana pool. With powerful Mana recovery, this is a very nice defensive layer. Make sure you have sufficient amounts of mana to comfortably use this.

  • Evading an attack prevents all damage and other harmful effects including status ailments and stun. Only melee and ranged attacks can be evaded; spells automatically hit. The chance to evade an attack is based on the defender's evasion rating compared to the attacker's accuracy.

  • Dodge is a layer of defence that grants a chance to prevent a damaging hit. The chance to dodge is a random roll made per attack/cast; it is not entropy-based like evasion nor is it affected by accuracy. Dodge is capped at 75% and is rolled before block. Damage avoidance is a separate mechanic and is rolled after block.

  • Blind is a debuff that lessens the chance to hit of the affected target by 50% and lowers the light radius to the minimum value.

Improving Toughness
There are a few key Passives to consider if you are wanting to take less incoming Damage:
1.) Unpredictable Offense (Offensive and Defensive)
2.) SIlent Steps (Purely Defensive)
3.) Dazzling Strikes (Offensive and Defensive)

Start with these, but feel free to change the tree to grab more max life if you are considering HC.

8.0. Credits, Updates, Changelog


Thank you for checking out this guide! I’d also like to thank everyone who has followed and subscribed! You guys keep the dream alive!


Archived updates posted at the top of the guide at the beginning of a new league will be moved here at the league’s conclusion.


7 Oct 2019 - Build Guide Published

Check me out on Twitch! http://www.twitch.tv/brittleknee
Last edited by brittleknee on Oct 7, 2019, 9:38:18 PM
Looks fun, I will give it a try and let you know! Thanks.

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